Canada vs Belgium | 2022 FIFA World Cup

Canada meets Belgium in its first action of World Cup 2022 in Qatar in a Group F match on Nov. 23. 

The match will be the CanMNT’s first World Cup game in 14,777 days, having last competed in the 1986 World Cup in Mexico. Led by Bayern Munich’s Alphonso Davies, Lille striker Jonathan David and Red Star Belgrade goalkeeper Milan Borjan, Canada was the surprise of CONCACAF qualifying, finishing atop the table after impressive victories over both traditional regional powerhouses Mexico and the United States. But now the real hard work comes as Canada faces the world’s best in Qatar. 

The Red Devils are one of the tournament's heavyweights, featuring superstars from across Europe's biggest clubs. Among those expected to feature for Belgium include Inter striker Romelu Lukaku, Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois and, perhaps the best player in the world at present, Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne. 

 In reaching the quarter-finals at World Cup 2014 in Brazil and finishing in third place for the first time ever at Russia 2018, the expectations for the Red Devils to push for a first ever World Cup are high. But there is an urgency to this World Cup for Roberto Martinez’s team with the knowledge that the window is swiftly closing for this golden generation. 

While bright young talents like Milan forward Charles De Ketelaere and midfielder Amadou Onana of Everton are likely to be present in Qatar, most of the program’s top players are approaching 30, if not there already, and there is the sense that this World Cup might be the final chance to capture a major honour as currently constructed. Euro 2020 was a disappointment for the Red Devils. After breezing through the group stage and conceding just a single goal in wins over Denmark, Finland and Russia and a Round of 16 victory over Portugal, Belgium fell 2-1 to eventual champions Italy in the quarters, unable to overturn a 2-0 halftime deficit. After that failure, the pressure has never been higher going into this, their 14th World Cup campaign. 

Though several Canadian players like Club Brugge’s Cyle Larin and Tajon Buchanan ply their club trades in Belgium, Canada and the Red Devils are virtual strangers to one another, having crossed paths just once before. In the summer of 1989, Belgium were a 2-0 victor over Canada at Ottawa’s Lansdowne Park on goals from Sheffield Wednesday striker Marc Degryse and Club Brugge midfielder Jan Ceulemans. 

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